I’ll be honest, I had a hard time explaining Scarlet Nexus to a friend because of how beautifully strange, complex and otherworldly it is! I couldn’t keep the controller down simply because I was waiting to unravel its mysterious story and understand the complex characters and their relationships with one another. Oh, and there are plenty of characters in this game! However, as intriguing as the storyline is, the combat is where all the fun is at but with the choppy pacing and drab environments, Scarlet Nexus can quickly lose its sheen.

This game is mostly for fans of anime and JRPG games. To that extent, it really delivers on those fronts. Heck, it’s even got an anime series running alongside the game. One particular side mission requires you to watch all the episodes from the Scarlet Nexus anime to answer a question. Albeit, if you’re not into that sort of thing, then you may or may not even consider Scarlet Nexus to be your next game but it’s not all that geeky. In fact, it has a surprising amount of depth in its characters and plot. The enemy design is by far the most elaborate showcase of the writer’s imagination. It’s this sort of intriguing and interesting world that makes Scarlet Nexus one of the good games of 2021.

It’s a futuristic world where abnormal creatures called the 'Others' pop out of nowhere (actually through a membrane in the atmosphere but we don’t know why that exists) and attack anything in sight. There’s nothing compelling about the enemies themselves but throw in a bit of politics, time travel and supernatural powers and you’ve got one heck of a story. Scarlet Nexus doesn’t trend the traditional tropes of bad guys doing bad things to drive its story. You’re actually in the bang centre of a coupe between the government and the OSF. 

OSF or better known as Other Suppression Force comprises of combat skilled individuals that have a knack for using supernatural abilities. Our main characters are Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall and the game gives you the option to choose between the two at the start. Surprisingly, the main story is slightly different for each character. We started our first innings with the game as Kasane Randall and to my surprise, the storyline consists of both characters and their intertwining tale. Think of it as a different perspective to the main story. 

As is with most anime plots, the main protagonist is surrounded by a group of friends each with unique abilities that you can leverage during combat. Kasane and Yuito share the same psychic ability that allows them to manipulate and hurl objects at enemies. Kasane is more of a mid-range combat expert with flying blades which she can control using her psychic abilities. Yuito uses a katana for close-range combat. As the story progresses, you’ll build a group of OSF agents that will offer their abilities during combat. Electricity, duplication and super speed to name a few. As you strengthen your bond with these side characters, their loaned abilities during combat increase in strength and variation. It’s a bit complex at first and the first four hours simply feel like a massive tutorial section. The meat of the story kicks into gear after the initial four hours. 

The story is also linear so there’s little to no decision making that can affect the outcome of the story. You do get a ton of information thrown at you, especially when dealing with side characters. Almost all of these characters follow the regular anime character composition. One fellow is snarky and unnecessarily stubborn but learns to respect you as the story progresses. Another is shy and soft-spoken but very agile and smart during combat. Another gentleman is of a flirty nature and only talks with elaborate hand gestures. You get the point. And you must deal with these conversations at a regular interval. The game never naturally progresses into the conversation. It’s only after a level based combat section, the team regroups at a resting point and you must go around talking to all of them and offer gifts that you can purchase from conveniently located merchants. These gifts boost your relationship with the characters and in return, you gain access to better abilities.

 

As is with most anime plots, the main protagonist is surrounded by a group of friends each with unique abilities that you can leverage during combat. Kasane and Yuito share the same psychic ability that allows them to manipulate and hurl objects at enemies. Kasane is more of a mid-range combat expert with flying blades which she can control using her psychic abilities. Yuito uses a katana for close-range combat. As the story progresses, you’ll build a group of OSF agents that will offer their abilities during combat. Electricity, duplication and super speed to name a few. As you strengthen your bond with these side characters, their loaned abilities during combat increase in strength and variation. It’s a bit complex at first and the first four hours simply feel like a massive tutorial section. The meat of the story kicks into gear after the initial four hours. 

The story is also linear so there’s little to no decision making that can affect the outcome of the story. You do get a ton of information thrown at you, especially when dealing with side characters. Almost all of these characters follow the regular anime character composition. One fellow is snarky and unnecessarily stubborn but learns to respect you as the story progresses. Another is shy and soft-spoken but very agile and smart during combat. Another gentleman is of a flirty nature and only talks with elaborate hand gestures. You get the point. And you must deal with these conversations at a regular interval. The game never naturally progresses into the conversation. It’s only after a level based combat section, the team regroups at a resting point and you must go around talking to all of them and offer gifts that you can purchase from conveniently located merchants. These gifts boost your relationship with the characters and in return, you gain access to better abilities.

Verdict

Anime fans will have a lot more to enjoy here than casual gamers looking for the next best action-adventure. Although the story is really worth your time and effort, it’s completely up to you to seek enjoyment from Scarlet Nexus. The under-explained menu and store system, boring environments and uneven pacing can often make the game feel underwhelming. We enjoyed the story and its complex character relationships. Oh, and I am personally a huge anime fan so that eases the introduction to anime tropes.

 
Stuff says... 

Scarlet Nexus review

Scarlet Nexus is easy admission for anime fans but it needs more convincing to put everyone behind the controller
₹1999
Good Stuff 
Great story
Deep and rich lore
Absolutely lovely enemy design
Stunning combat
Complex and deep (in an anime way)
Bad Stuff 
Horrible menu design for weapon upgrades
So-so pacing
Boring level design